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The Theory of Spontaneous Generation
In his book 'The Selfish Gene', Richard Dawkins speculates that in the beginning, the Earth had an atmosphere composed of carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia and water. Through energy supplied by sunlight, and perhaps by lightning and exploding volcanoes, these simple compounds were broken apart and then they reformed into amino acids, accumulated in the sea and combined into protein-like compounds. Ultimately, he says, the ocean became the "organic soup," but still lifeless.Then according to Dawkins' description, "a particularly remarkable molecule was formed by an accident" - a molecule that had the ability to produce itself. Though admitting that such an accident was exceedingly improbable, he maintains that it must nevertheless have happened. Similar molecules clustered together, and then, again by exceedingly improbable accident, they wrapped a protective barrier of other protein molecules around themselves as membrane. Thus it is claimed, the first living cell generated itself.
At this point a reader may begin to understand Dawkins comment in the preface to his book: "This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction." But readers on the subject will find that his approach is not unique. Most other books on evolution also skim over the staggering problem of explaining the emergence of life from nonliving matter.The recent explosive increase of knowledge has only served to magnify the gulf between nonliving and living things. Even the oldest known single-celled organisms have been found to be incomprehensibly complex.
Nevertheless let us analyze the possibility of the occurrence of the events as proposed by the spontaneous generation theory.
The principal steps involved are:
1.Presence of the right primitive atmosphere
2.Formation of an 'organic soup' i.e., concentration in the oceans of'simple' molecules necessary for life
3.Emergence of proteins and nucleotides in the soup
4.Combination of these and acquiring of a membrane to form a cell
(5) Development of a genetic code and replication. Are these steps possible?